over·​drive ˈō-vər-ˌdrīv How to pronounce overdrive (audio)
: an automotive transmission gear that transmits to the drive shaft a speed greater than engine speed
: a state of heightened activity
going into rhetorical overdrive

Examples of overdrive in a Sentence

He put the car into overdrive. His acting career is in overdrive. The reporters went into overdrive to finish their stories on time.
Recent Examples on the Web Retailers go into overdrive during the holiday season, flooding inboxes with roaring Black Friday discounts. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post, 21 Nov. 2023 Across forests, parks and your backyard, these animals go into overdrive, scurrying ceaselessly through the undergrowth and stuffing nuts and seeds into the soil. Emma Bryce, Scientific American, 20 Nov. 2023 Israel’s public-relations machine has gone into overdrive in recent weeks to make the case that its pummeling of Gaza has been necessary and conducted in a way meant to minimize civilian deaths. NBC News, 19 Nov. 2023 Then, after a brief period of normalization, the Fed cut again to counter drag from the Trump tariffs, and went into full-on overdrive during the Pandemic. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 16 Nov. 2023 Rumors about the pair went into overdrive a few days earlier after the Arrow actor deleted several photos of him and Leatham from his Instagram feed. Maria Yagoda, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2023 And that is jolting Palestinian diplomats into overdrive to ensure the Authority is not replaced by a new entity in Gaza. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Nov. 2023 Headlines about Swift and Kelce’s relationship kicked into overdrive when Swift attended her first Chiefs game on Sept. 24 after months of murmurs about the high-profile pair. Katie Atkinson, Billboard, 7 Nov. 2023 Sometimes, that hysteria shifts into overdrive, with gripping, shirt-ripping and knocks to the body. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 26 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'overdrive.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of overdrive was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near overdrive

Cite this Entry

“Overdrive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/overdrive. Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


over·​drive ˈō-vər-ˌdrīv How to pronounce overdrive (audio)
: a transmission gear in an automobile that allows the drive shaft to operate at a speed greater than that of the engine crankshaft
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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